The LORD is good

Photo credit: linux.com

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

We are living in very difficult times. Everywhere there is poverty; in almost all levels of society, there are abused children, women, and even pet animals. We have civil wars and proxy wars that never seem to end. In some nations, lawlessness and chaos are a common state of affairs. There are greedy politicians and opportunistic business owners who rip their own countrymen for a quick gain, and many other ills that make it appear that the world is full of evil and there is totally no hope.

But the LORD is good. He is good to all people, in all places, in all situations, and at all times. Even to those who are in pain. Regardless of how things in our lives appear, or how they look, or how we feel, the LORD is good. This is the blessed assurance we have in all circumstances and conditions of our existence. The LORD is good all the time and in every possible way that we can imagine.

According to Biblical Illustrator commentary: “The goodness of God is the perfection of His nature which inclines Him to deal graciously with His creatures…to give out His riches and happiness, and make His creatures partakers of them – as far as their different capacities will admit… This goodness of God is infinite”.

When the Old Testament Bible says “stronghold” [“ma-oz”, in Hebrew], it refers to a fortified place or a fortress. The language conveys the idea of protection and defense. In our verse, God is this refuge to the troubled soul in many ways. The Biblical Illustrator speaks of this stronghold in three (3) different ways:

  1. Keeping impending trouble off
  2. Removing God’s people out of reach of trouble
  3. In most cases, giving God’s people the strength to bear (or carry) their trouble

Those who turn to LORD for safety and refuge is guaranteed protection and sanctuary in His name. The thought that the LORD is good is already a consolation.

God knows His people, those who trust in Him, in a personal and intimate way. In this verse, to trust [“cha-sah”, in Hebrew] means to confide, or to have hope. No matter how dreadful the situation is, the LORD will remain faithful to those who put their trust in Him.

https://benjiebensing.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/the-lord-is-good/

 

AUDIO Valerie Bell and Matt Markins: This Is How to Help Kids Love Jesus for the Rest of Their Lives

By Jason Daye -July 22, 2020

awana

Valerie Bell is the CEO and Matt Markins is the Chief Strategy Officer for Awana, a global leader in child and youth discipleship. Together, they wrote a book entitled, Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church, which explores the three areas it is necessary to focus on in order to help kids develop life-long faith.

Key Questions for Awana’s Valerie Bell and Matt Markins

-What is Awana, and how has it changed over the years?

-How can a church recognize if its curriculum has taken priority over its kids?

-What do some of the elements of discipleship look like every week at a church?

-What are you hoping to accomplish in this next generation of believers?

Key Quotes from Awana’s Valerie Bell

“Awana is not just a local club any more. It has grown into a global ministry.”

“Today, there are five million children who participate in Awana weekly.”

“Our kids [in the U.S.] were becoming screen disciples.”

“We found in our studies that church-going children are only actually there 1.7 times a month, which is around 24 hours for a whole year. And we began to look at ourselves and go, ‘We’re missing the boat.’”

“You don’t have to be a Bible scholar. All you have to do is be a leader who can give belonging to a child.”

“Bible memory is a part of our model, a really important part of it, and Bible teaching is a really important part of it, but there are these components of the loving, caring adult and the place where kids can come and see faith in action that are also very important and are also part of building this important identity in Christ.”

“We want [kids] to love Jesus for the rest of their lives.”

“[COVID-19] was an eye-opening experience. And I think a lot of our Awana people, as they reported back to us, the realization was, ‘We need to be more present in these kids’ lives. We need to know their parents. We need to know the homes that they’re coming from.’”

“Childhood is the ideal time for [Scripture memory] to be highly invested in people’s lives.”

“Don’t get stuck in the mire of how terrible the world around you is, but have a dream that’s holy and big and one that can wrap its arms around a whole globe full of kids.”

Key Quotes from Awana’s Matt Markins

“We like to say, ‘Children over curriculum,’ because many kids are coming to church, and they’re progressing through the program, but maybe there’s not a loving, caring adult who recognizes them and who realizes, ‘This is a child and I need to reach out and disciple this child’s heart.’”

“About a decade ago…we began saying, ‘One mission, many methods.’”

“The local church with children right now, we just don’t know that we’re spending our time in ways that are going to most influence long-term spiritual fruit.”

“The three factors [of belong, believe, become], when they’re present together, are far more likely to produce long-term spiritual fruit and discipleship into that child to young adulthood.”

“Many churches have moved to kind of a ‘Bible-lite’ strategy where the gospel is not central.”

“Bible teaching, Bible learning and Bible engagement are just huge, key factors in the long-term impact [on people’s lives].”

“Kids are navigating very challenging things today…when disciple-makers can walk along them in their life’s journey and help them navigate some of the key conversations that kids need to be engaged in today—that’s missing in a lot of discipleship attempts.”

“So many of our programs are designed to entertain kids…and the last thing our kids needs is more entertainment.”

“We need key senior leaders in the local church to realize child discipleship is one of the most strategic and future-forward and fruitful investments of the local church.”

“Bible engagement is one of the key factors in long-term spiritual growth.”

“Churches have to continue to find creative ways to make faith not just a one-way learning process, but a way to actually live it out experientially.” 

Mentioned in the Show by Awana’s Valerie Bell and Matt Markins

Awana’s website
Charles Spurgeon
Kara Powell
Resilient: Child Discipleship and the Fearless Future of the Church by Valerie Bell and Matt Markins
Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults by Christian Smith
Resilient Disciples and the Brite curriculum

Follow Awana on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

Other Ways to Listen to this Podcast:

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As Vice President of Ministry Mobilization for Outreach, Inc., Jason dedicates his time to encouraging and equipping churches, denominations and ministry organizations to develop their Kingdom effectiveness by creating a culture that is both incarnational and invitational. He also serves as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement and hosts the weekly ChurchLeaders podcast. Jason lives on Anastasia Island, Florida, with his beautiful wife and children. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jasondaye

Valerie Bell and Matt Markins: This Is How to Help Kids Love Jesus for the Rest of Their Lives

‘The Holy Spirit Overwhelmed Me’: How a Gay Hollywood Designer Found Redemption and Freedom in Christ

07-27-2020 Steve Warren

Becket Cook. (Image credit: The 700 Club)

Swimming in Drew Barrymore’s pool. Vacationing at Diane Keaton’s getaway home. Going to the Grammy Awards or rocking Paris Fashion Week. This was the lifestyle of Becket Cook, and he absolutely loved it until the day he suddenly didn’t.

Cook writes about that profound moment in his life in his new book titled A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption.

Cook, a successful set designer in the fashion world, was mingling with Hollywood’s elite. He was also openly gay. Despite everything he had, it still wasn’t enough.

“So I was attending fashion week and I went to all of the shows and a bunch of the parties,” he recalled. “And I was at a party one night and I just looked over the crowd and I thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore. This isn’t going to cut it anymore.'”

In his book, Cook shares how God turned his identity upside down and brought him the kind of peace and freedom that he never knew was possible.

During an interview on The 700 Club Friday, the former LA set designer shared how he was molested by a friend’s father when he was 10-years-old. He explained that he told one friend about the attack, but no one else.

“I didn’t tell my parents because I knew my father would have had him killed,” he said. “My father was a really powerful attorney in Texas and so I was like, ‘I really don’t want my father to go to prison over this.'”

“I didn’t want people to know,” Cook said. “It was a very shameful experience and I didn’t want it to get out.”

When asked if that experience affected his sexuality years later, the author responded, “For many, many years, living as a gay man, I never really thought it affected me. I just kind of denied that it affected me because I didn’t want my sexual identity as a gay man to be tied to such a scary, weird, gross night.”

“But after I became a Christian, I realized that night had a huge impact on my sexuality, and kind of where I ended up going,” Cook continued.

He also shared that he came out as gay to all of his friends and family after he was out of college.

“My parents were actually very lovely about it,” Cook recalled. “I was the youngest of eight kids, so by the time they got to me they were like, ‘Oh, you’re gay? OK, cool,'” he said with a laugh. “My parents were Christians and they believed it was a sin. But they were very sweet and very loving about it.”

Cook said while living in Los Angeles, he was in serious relationships with five different men. But he felt dead inside.

“I was at Paris Fashion Week in March of 2009. I used to go to fashion weeks in New York and Paris,” he noted. “I was at this after-party. It was very glamorous. Everyone from the fashion world was there. I think Kanye (West) was there.”

“So that night in Paris, I was looking out over the crowd and thought, ‘This is not it. This is not the meaning of life. What am I going to do with the rest of my life?'” he asked himself.

Then one day, he was having coffee at his favorite coffee shop and saw people with Bibles.

“My best friend and I ended up getting into a conversation with them and they invited me to their church the following Sunday in Hollywood,” Cook recollected. “And I asked them, ‘What does your church believe about homosexuality?’ And they said, ‘Well, we believe it’s a sin.'”

So Cook went to church that following Sunday and recalled that everything the pastor was saying from Romans chapter 7 was going through his mind and heart and that he was literally on the edge of his seat during the whole sermon.

“Then after the sermon, this guy on the side of the church prayed for me. I came back to my seat and I was processing the sermon, the worship music, and everything,” he said. “Then all of the sudden, the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me. And God was like, ‘I’m God. Jesus is my Son. Heaven’s real. Hell’s real. The Bible’s true. You are now adopted into my Kingdom. Welcome!'”

Cook said he immediately started crying.

“It was like a curtain had parted and I could see the truth for the first time in my life,” he explained. “I knew the meaning of life for the first time in my life.”

Cook also said he knew in that moment who he was. Being gay was not who he was.

“It was over,” he said. “I was done with it.”

READ the rest of Becket Cook’s story in: A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption

** This story was first published in August 2019

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/2019/august/the-holy-spirit-overwhelmed-me-how-this-gay-hollywood-designer-found-redemption-and-freedom-in-christ

Who Is Jesus?

Jesus! He is altogether lovely, the lily of the valley, the eternal God made flesh.

More books have been written about Him, more songs penned to honor Him, and more lives transformed by Him than by any other name in human history. He has been worshiped from the day He was born to the present moment, and more people are following Him now than ever before. He is the Nazarene Carpenter, the Jewish Messiah, the Risen Savior, and the Eternal King. Sometimes an old song comes to my mind that puts it like this: “Jesus is the sweetest name I know, and He’s just the same as His lovely name.”

Jesus! He is altogether lovely, the lily of the valley, the eternal God made flesh.

Amen!In Hebrew, His name is Yeshua, which is translated Joshua in the Old Testament, meaning “The Lord Saves!” In Greek, it’s Iesous. If you go to The Netherlands, they’ll tell you about Jezus. In Finland, you’ll hear about Jeesus. Native Hawaiians call him Iesu. In Korea? Yesu. In Turkey? Isa. He is universal. Whatever the language, He is unique. All over the globe He is revered by generation after generation.

The name of Jesus has been in countless campaigns, festivals, marketing appeals, ministry outreaches, great events, sermons, speeches, prayers, and personal testimonies— as well as innumerable oaths and curses. The entire world is divided into those who know Him and those who don’t.

I am thankful to say I do know Him! He’s the dearest Person in my life. I remember the day I met Him. Do you? I wish you and I could visit for ten minutes so I could hear the story of how you came to know Jesus. Or, if you don’t know Him, I wish I could sit down with you for ten minutes and introduce Him to you.

That’s really what this issue of Turning Points is about, and it’s also why I’ve written The Jesus You May Not Know. I want you to take the journey from knowing about Jesus to knowing Him better and better.

Make no mistake—it’s not just knowing about Him that’s important. It’s personally knowing Him.

No matter how long you’ve been acquainted with Jesus of Nazareth, there’s far more about Him that you don’t know than you do know. After all, in Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). He is uniquely both God and Man. As God, His qualities are infinite and infinitely mysterious. Even His human nature is a mystery, and none of us can plumb the depths of His personality.Make no mistake—it’s not just knowing about Him that’s important. It’s personally knowing Him. No matter how closely you’ve walked with Jesus, you can become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him. Think of the twelve disciples. One of them described himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” It was John, and he’s the one who leaned against our Lord at the Last Supper. Two others, Peter and James, were also very close to Him. They formed an inner circle and accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration.

Eight of the other nine disciples were also close to Him (Judas being the exception). Seventy other disciples also followed Him closely with untold multitudes following at a distance. Many people knew Christ, but not everyone was equally close to Him.

That’s the secret I want to share with you—you have the opportunity to know Christ more intimately than you know Him today. Sometimes we allow our personal friendship with Christ to stall. The Christians in the city of Ephesus drifted away from their first love (Revelation 2:4). J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “It is possible to have once lived a life of consecration to God and then, by deliberate sin or by simple neglect, to get out of touch with God.”

Has that happened to you? Is your familiarity with Christ stronger than it was last year? Last month? The Bible commands us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

This issue of Turning Points focuses on doing just that.

I wrote The Jesus You May Not Know as a sequel to The God You May Not Know because Jesus is more than a Name. He’s Someone we should know, Someone we should know better, and Someone we should make known to all the world.

This month we will focus on getting to know Jesus more deeply and intimately as we discover Who Is Jesus?

 

 

From This Point Forward: “Real Christianity”

https://www.davidjeremiah.org/magazine/article/who-is-jesus-227

Hope in the LORD

JUNE 1, 2020 BEN J BENSING

Photo by Mohsin khan on Pexels.com

Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130:7 NIV

Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. Psalm 130:7 KJV

From the depths of despair to the pinnacles of joy, the Psalmist is reminding Israel to hope in the LORD. With the LORD, the greatest calamity is conquered by the greatest victory.

It would seem that the Psalmist himself had experience a similar situation (mortal danger, impending calamity, a disaster about to overtake him, etc.) and had found mighty deliverance in God’s unfailing love. Since the LORD is trustworthy, the people of Israel can trust Him for their complete deliverance, or full redemption.

But wait, since this is still in the Old Testament, it cannot be a “full redemption” as Christ Jesus was not revealed yet to Israel. So why the psalmist was convinced that with the LORD there is full redemption? Perhaps the psalmist was talking about a future time when Christ Jesus will be revealed to Israel hundreds of years later. Or, he was talking about something he personally experienced.

Whatever it is, it really doesn’t matter. Because of this word: Plenteous. The Hebrew word is ra-bah [raw-baw]. It means to increase in whatever respect, exceedingly, full, to multiply, etc. During the Old Testament times, redemption can be obtained through the forgiveness of sin after offering an animal sacrifice. The blood of the sacrifice “covers” the sins (forgives the sins) and therefore redeems the sinner. But it did not remove the sin; it merely “covers” it so that when the LORD looks down from heaven, He can see the blood, not the sin. Anything else that is needed – to make that imperfect sacrifice acceptable – is provided by the “plenteous” redemption from the LORD, in any way imaginable. That’s grace in the Old Testament.

But when Christ Jesus came about nine hundred years later, He came as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His death on the cross paid the penalty in “full”. John 3:16 says that, “whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life”. That is why we can be certain that now we have full redemption. Complete. Because of the blood of Christ. It removes the sin away, far away, as far as the east is from the west.

Now we understand why the Psalmist exhorted us to trust in the LORD. Because with the LORD there is an abundance of mercy. With abundance of mercy there is abundance of redemption. We can rest in our struggles and put aside our worries in the wonderful arms of the Saviour. Wherever we go, whatever we do, in season or out of season, we are secured in the certainty of His promises.

God has in store for His redeemed people a great many things, perhaps greater than our worst fear. We are encouraged by the fact that He’s got our back and we can dream bigger and aim higher for His glory. If God can love us unconditionally in our worst, there is no reason He cannot love us in our best. God can move the mountains and shake the heavens to bless us and make us fruitful. For His glory and for our benefit, so that our faith will increase.

God’s redemption is not just enough – it is overflowing. It cannot be exhausted and it will never run dry. It is more than enough for the whole world. It is sufficient, exceedingly abundant, for every human being. It is for every soul.

We are not perfect, and we are still living and struggling for better things to come. Yet there is hope that one day we will receive what the LORD has promised in Christ Jesus. A future where there will be no more tears, no more wars, no more hunger, no more pain, and a life without the ravages of sickness and decay.

https://benjiebensing.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/hope-in-the-lord/

Abuse In Relationships!

BY CHOMSKYWEB

 

The purpose of a relationship is to know your partner very well, maintain sexual purity and sharpen each other in preparation for marriage.

When the purpose of a relationship is not known, then abuse is inevitable.

Abuse of a relationship is the misuse of the purpose of a relationship.

Many who are in a relationship today fail to identify and follow the purpose of a relationship, rather they follow what people say or what they feel about how a relationship should be.

1. SEXUAL ABUSE.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

We are in a world where people don’t read the Bible and many who read the Bible do not follow what is written there.

Sex or romance is met to only happen between husband and wife not between ordinary boyfriend and girlfriend or fiance and fiancee. That’s how God designed it. Anything thing outside that is relationship abuse.

A relationship is not met for a man to examine all the local government in your body as a lady.

A relationship is not met for sex chats.

A relationship is not met for sending nudes.

A relationship is not met for premarital romance or sex.

You are abusing yourself and your relationship if you do anything like that.

A Brother told me how he raped the fiancee and he did not know what came over him. She later got pregnant and they were both embarrassed in their fellowship.

It’s because he doesn’t know the purpose of a relationship.

A relationship is not met to be staying in a room together when they are not married despite scripture warns you to abstain from all appearances of evil.

A Brother or Sister who asks for premarital sex does not know the purpose of a relationship and such is not ripe for a relationship.

Such persons need sexual purity class not relationship.

A Brother who attempts to rape you does not know the purpose of a relationship. Such deserve nothing but break up.

A sister who attempts to lure you into premarital sex or romance is yet to know the purpose of a relationship.

A partner who cheats while in a relationship with you does not know the purpose of a relationship, such needs self control not relationship.

You cannot abuse the purpose of relationship and your relationship and marriage will not be abused.

You can’t break or abuse God’s law of sexual purity and God will not permit the devil to abuse your your relationship and marriage.

A man who asks you for premarital sex, if you get pregnant, he will deny or probably ask you to commit abortion, and if you lose your womb or die while commiting abortion, he will marry another lady and have children.

As a lady, you must guide your body jealously and be selfish by not allowing any man touch or come into your temple for sex or romance except by marriage.

2. VERBAL ABUSE.

A Brother explained how his fiancee insulted, embarrass and ridicule him just because he gave account of their relationship to his mentor.

A sister or brother who abuse you verbally in a relationship doesn’t know the purpose of a relationship, such doesn’t need a relationship yet but a class on how to bridle his or her own tongue 😝 .

If you are in a relationship where your partner insult and embarrasses you without any sign of growing up or changing, then it’s time to break up!

Do not tolerate, condone or accept verbal abuse from any partner in a relationship because it would continue in marriage.

If your partner does not value you, there’s a Brother or Sister praying night and day just to be in a relationship with someone like you.

Anyone who stays in verbally abusive relationship is suffering from inferiority complex and low self esteem, the earlier you discover this and walk away, the better.

3. PHYSICAL ABUSE.

A Brother who slaps or hit you in a relationship will kill you with beating in marriage.

A sister who jack up your shirt and threaten you to beat her up will be a trouble maker in marriage.

A Brother who threaten to hit, beat or slap you if you repeat an action that’s not sinful will turn you into a punching bag.

Why are you still with him despite he hits you? Money or sex? Your mates are making their own money without the effort of any man. You will not forever be horny in marriage if it’s sex, don’t be fooled!

A sister that Jacks up or hold your shirt in a relationship doesn’t know the purpose of a relationship, such will be physically abusive in marriage.

A friend told me of a lady who canceled her wedding just because the husband-to-be slapped her during their traditional wedding because they had an intense argument.

I salute the courage of the young lady who saved herself from abusive marriage.

Physical abuse is never a mistake in a relationship.

Why don’t you make a mistake of hitting a soldier or fellow men when you have arguments or disagreement?

Holy Spirit will not Lead you to hit your partner.

A spiritual man cannot hit you in a relationship.

4. FINANCIAL ABUSE.

It’s called relationship not sponsorship.

It’s called relationship not Father to daughter thing.

I have seen several ladies who say he has not bought me anything or given me money since we started this relationship.

I usually ask such lady, what have you bought him or how much have you given him since you started the relationship?

There’s no rule that says a man must give you money for your hair do, dress and shoulder all your expenses in a relationship when it’s not marriage.

It’s called relationship because both of you are supposed to relate whatever you have and share it together not one sided.

A lady told me that she gave close to 300k to her fiancee and he used the money to marry another lady.

Don’t give any man your money in a relationship except he has passed the TESTS OF TRUST.

A man that loves you will buy you things or give you money willingly without asking because he knows your value and worths.

HOW TO AVOID ABUSE IN A RELATIONSHIP!

1. Don’t go into a relationship with a sinner or someone who doesn’t know the purpose of a relationship. A sinner is someone who doesn’t have genuine salvation experience.

2. Have relationship mentor and be accountable.

You should have a relationship mentor who you give the weekly and monthly account of your relationship to.

Both of you can decide to choose a mentor you are accountable to.

If your partner says he or she doesn’t believe in relationship mentor or accountability, then such may be an abuser except if everything is going on well in the relationship.

Most abusive relationship doesn’t have parental or pastoral mentorship.

3. Don’t make your relationship secret.

A relationship like ordinary boyfriend and girlfriend that your parents do not approve of usually end up being abusive.

Carry your physical or spiritual parents along in your relationship and let them be aware of your partner misbehavior or change in behavior so that they can call him or her to order.

4. Attend seminars and conferences together.

Attend relationship and spiritual growth conferences and seminars together so that you can sharpen your inner person.

5. Be Financially Independent.

Don’t be idle.

Make your own money.

Don’t depend on your partner before you buy Airtime and personal expenses.

Stop begging or asking your partner for money.

Avoid unnecessary borrowing of money from your partner.

It’s difficult to abuse someone who is financially stable.

6. Don’t make your partner feel like you can’t do without them.

When your partner realizes that you are desperate, you may become a victim of abuse.

If you are the only one initiating calls and chats then you are acting desperate, and you may be abused.

A relationship built on abuse, the marriage will be abusive, enduring and may not last.

Don’t accept any form of abuse in a relationship.

Develop high self confidence and self esteem.

You are wonderfully and beautifully made.

God’s will for you is not to be in an abusive relationship.

God won’t tempt you with an abusive partner. Don’t be deceived. Abusive partner is not your cross in a relationship. The only cross ➕ Jesus gave you is preaching of the Gospel not abusive partner.

If your relationship is abusive, the only solution is to break up.

You can’t change a man or woman because you are not the Holy Spirit.

Don’t marry him or her thinking such will change. People rarely change in marriage.

Most women and men in abusive marriage today saw it coming in a relationship but they were thinking he or she would change, it’s too late for them now because they are already married.

Even if you divorce due to abuse, the stigma and trauma of divorce can never leave you for life.

It’s better to break up from abusive partner now in a relationship, than to marry and be praying every day.

1 Peter 4:14
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

16. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

17. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God

 

–Oluwaniyi Aderopo Hezekiah

https://chomskyweb.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/abuse-in-a-relationship/


Charity leader: Persecution of Christians should be concerning to all

They are ‘a force for good’

Egypt’s Coptic Christians have endured brutal persecution in Egypt since the removal of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The leader of a prominent Christian charity says everyone – governments included – should be concerned about the persecution of Christians worldwide because they are “a force for good.”

Christian Today reported Henrietta Blyth, CEO of the U.K. branch of Open Doors, said, “For too long it has been assumed that standing up for persecuted Christian minorities was something for churches to concern them with, not secular civil society.”

She explained, “Again and again a minority Christian population within a nation is a force for good – caring not just for themselves, but others around them.”

That means, she said, the violent persecution of millions of Christians around the globe should be more than a “niche concern.”

“By supporting these Christian minorities, I believe we are supporting a more civil and less troubled future for the nations themselves – and that benefits everyone,” she said.

Persecution of Christians long has been the most pervasive type of religious discrimination worldwide, and Open Doors annually ranks the offending nations.

Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, recently noted the testimony of a Chinese lawyer who had contacted her but asked to remain anonymous.

Littlejohn wrote: “The illusion that the Chinese government is our benevolent friend needs to be broken. The Chinese Communist Party is a brutal, totalitarian regime. Appeasement diplomacy has not worked. All governments of conscience need to stand strong against the hideous human rights atrocities of this pernicious regime.”

The lawyer’s testimony:

Reggie, please tell the world about the terrible suffering of Christians in China. There has been a harsh revision of the regulations regarding religions in China, and the Chinese government has since tightened up its controls in all religions, including Christians.

Foreigners look at Shanghai and are impressed with the wealth and apparent modernity of China. But they don’t see the terrible atrocities committed in the “reeducation camps” in Xinjiang, among the Uyghur Muslims. And they don’t see how the Christians are being persecuted as well.

As an attorney in China, I worked closely in the court system. The Chinese court system is not an independent branch of the government, like the American court system. There is no separation of powers in China. The Chinese courts are controlled by the government. They are designed to execute national policy, not justice.

In the courts, I was told that Christianity was the “opium of the people,” designed to pollute Chinese minds and overturn the Communist government. The Chinese government and its court system regard Christianity as a threat, an enemy, because Communism is atheistic, and they believe that Christianity will make the country unstable. They want Christianity to stay small.

This is true of all religions. The CCP also heavily persecutes Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims and Falun Gong practitioners. Anyone who worships a divine being is the enemy of the Chinese Communist Party.

When the CCP arrests a pastor, the criminal charge is that he is a “traitor” who is “threatening national security.” These pastors have no right to legal representation. If they have someone brave enough to be their lawyer, the pastor can be beaten up before seeing that lawyer. And their attorney can be beaten as well.

Though some are real Christians, many pastors of the official, registered churches are not believers. They are government workers, paid by the government. This is one reason that many Christians choose not to go to the Three-Self, officially registered churches.

“Three-Self” is a characteristically Chinese way of abbreviating “self-governance, self-support, self-propagation.” For example, Catholic believers in China are not allowed to accept the leadership of pope. Chinese churches can have no relationships with churches outside of China. They cannot receive foreign funding, teaching or leadership.

There are two huge changes in the law regarding religious practice in China.

First, the new law greatly expands the government departments that can persecute religious believers. Under the previous law, only the Religious Affairs Bureau would enforce religious restrictions. Under the new law, every layer of government can regulate religious affairs. The fact that there are so many more officials cracking down on unregistered churches puts tremendous pressure on the members of those churches. As part of President Xi’s crackdown, Chinese Christians are facing the most persecutions since the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

I know of an incident in which some Chinese Christian missionaries went to a Christian conference. This was November 2018, in Thailand. Chinese Communist spies also went to this conference and secretly recorded the attendees. Many of the missionaries were arrested upon their return to China.

Friends of mine were watching a documentary regarding Tiananmen Square in their own living room in Shenzhen, a city in Guangdong province. They were arrested and remain under surveillance.

Second, the new law makes informal gatherings clearly illegal. The churches have no freedom of assembly. If a group of believers gathers to pray, and they are not registered, the new law makes this gathering strictly forbidden. Before, such gatherings were strongly discouraged, but not technically illegal.

Blyth’s comments followed promises from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that a new program of targeted sanctions will be used to support religious minorities.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “Our new global human rights regime will allow the UK to protect people of all religions … against serious human rights violations and abuses, and ensure the perpetrators are sent a clear message that the UK will not tolerate their atrocious actions.”

The U.K.’s Christian Institute noted that in some countries Christians are told they must give up their faith if they want food.

Charity leader: Persecution of Christians should be concerning to all

Ed-u-ma-cation

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

August 4, 2020

 

The fully gowned graduating class of engineers sat ready to hear from a class leader waiting for an encouraging send off. With his stoic Dad sitting in the front row my cousin opened with: Yesterday I could not spell engmaneer… today I are one.  My uncle led the approving applause.

Educating our children, our future, as we know it today is a far cry from where we started out in our country.  Reading was taught at the mother’s knee and continued in the barns, fields, or shops by the father’s side.

The private system of education in which our forefathers were educated included home, school, church, voluntary associations such as library companies and philosophical societies, circulating libraries, apprenticeships, and private study. It was a system supported primarily by those who bought the services of education, and by private benefactors. All was done without compulsion. Although there was a veneer of government involvement in some colonies, such as in Puritan Massachusetts, early American education was essentially based on the principle of voluntarism.[1]

Two hundred years in American history, from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s, public schools as we know them to day were virtually non-existent, and the educational needs of America were met by the free market. In these two centuries, America produced several generations of highly skilled and literate men and women who laid the foundation for a nation dedicated to the principles of freedom and self-government.

The cornerstone of early American education was the belief that “children are a heritage from the Lord.”[2] Parents believed that it was their responsibility to not only teach them how to make a living, but also how to live. As our forefathers searched their Bibles, they found that the function of government was to protect life and property.[3] Education was not a responsibility of the civil government.

Home education was so common in America that most children knew how to read before they entered school. As Ralph Walker has pointed out, “Children were often taught to read at home before they were subjected to the rigors of school. In middle-class families, where the mother would be expected to be literate, this was considered part of her duties.[4]

For many, formal schooling was simply unnecessary. The fine education they received at home and on the farm held them in good stead for the rest of their lives, and was supplemented with Bible reading and almanacs like Franklin’s Poor Richard’s.

Philadelphia also had many fine evening schools. In 1767, there were at least sixteen evening schools, catering mostly to the needs of Philadelphia’s hard-working German population. For the most part, the curriculum of these schools was confined to the teaching of English and vocations.[5] There were also schools for women, blacks, and the poor. Anthony Benezet, a leader in colonial educational thought, pioneered in the education for women and Negroes. The provision of education for the poor was a favorite Quaker philanthropy. As one historian has pointed out, “the poor, both Quaker and non-Quaker, were allowed to attend without paying fees.”[6]

A college education is something that very few of our forefathers wanted or needed. As a matter of fact, most of them were unimpressed by degrees or a university accent. They judged men by their character and by their experience. Moreover, many of our founding ‘fathers, such as George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Ben Franklin, did quite well without a college education. Yet for those who so desired it, usually young men aspiring to enter the ministry, university training was available. Unlike England, where the government had given Cambridge and Oxford a monopoly on the granting of degrees,[7] there were nine colleges from which to choose.

Education is as important today as it has been since the settling of our nation. What a child learns in school at an early age shapes generations to come.

Before the left sought and succeeded in removing God from schools they had the goal of running the education system. With professors and teachers indoctrinating and pushing anti-American socialism and communism the left could take over American. Their plan requires government run public schools as the only option where they control the message. To be successful they must shut down private and charter schools and all homeschooling by any means possible.

The China virus lockdowns have caused a variety of harms according to reports and studies. Hunger, unemployment, Fear, Anxiety, Depression, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Suicide, and Homicides have skyrocketed since the China virus lockdowns began.  Indeed Homicide rates have exploded by double digits and experts blame school and church closings alongside the anti-police movement, reports the Wall Street Journal. (8)

It is time to support Homeschooling, Private and Charter schools and leave the socialist and communist indoctrination prevalent in public schools behind.

———–

  1.   Clarence B. Carson has emphasized this point in his The American Tradition (Irvington- on-Hudson: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., 1964).
  2.   Psalm 127:3.

 

  1.   Romans 13.

 

  1.   Ralph Walker, “Old Readers,” in Early American Life, October, 1980, p. 54

 

  1.   Louis B. Wright, The Cultural Life of the American Colonies (New York: Harper and Row Pub., Inc., 1957), p. 109.

 

  1.   Carl and Jessica Bridenbaugh, Rebels and Gentlemen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 36.

 

  1.   Ibid., p. 39.

 

 

  1. https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/08/03/nolte-school-and-church-closings-anti-police-movement-blow-up-u-s-homicide-rate/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2020/08/06/ed-u-ma-cation/


VIDEO What Can I Do, The End Agents of Babylon?

By David Jeremiah

If you only had 48 hours remaining until Christ returned, what would you do? The one thing you don’t need to do is pack. There will be no suitcases with you on our flight. No photos, no checkbooks or credit cards, no cars or furniture. No trophies, souvenirs, plaques, awards, or prized possessions. I’m not even sure about the clothes on our backs. It’s going to be so fast, so glorious, and so instantly transforming that we’ll not miss a thing. Let’s spend our remaining hours doing some important things we’ve been putting off. Let’s do something about those “sins of omission.”

When it comes to sin, we can categorize it in three ways. There are sins of disposition, when our attitude isn’t pleasing to God. This can include a spirit of bitterness, envy, unwarranted anger, unbelieving anxiety, or unloving disdain.

Are you procrastinating on something Christ wants you to do? Well, we can’t put it off until tomorrow any longer.

There are sins of commission, when we commit an action that displeases the Lord. For example, adultery, theft, lying, or rudeness. Then there are sins of omission, things we should have done, but haven’t. The Bible speaks of this in James 4:17: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Today’s our chance to rectify one or more of those omissions. Let’s ask ourselves—what responsibility have I neglected? What duty have I shirked?

Procrastination is the Disease of Delay. University students come by this naturally, putting off papers until the last minute. That’s because many of them have never before had to depend on themselves for structure, and it’s hard to learn the discipline of working ahead. One interesting phenomenon is the way students put themselves through a series of rituals before they can settle down to study. One student got ready for a hard night of study by going to the coffee shop, getting his thermos filled, washing out his dorm sink so he could rinse his coffee cup, clearing out the inbox of his computer, and selecting the right background music on his i-Pod. By the time he was ready to study, he had precious little time to do it.

Studies have shown that executives aren’t much better. They tend to put off the most important work, particularly if it involves an unpleasant task or a hard decision. We all have a little of that within us. When we spend more time preparing to do something than we actually spend doing it, we’re classic procrastinators.

Are you procrastinating on something Christ wants you to do? Well, we can’t put it off until tomorrow any longer. No time’s left for procrastination.  Today’s slogan is borrowed from Nike:  Just do it.

Maybe it has to do with your family. If you’ve been putting off taking your spouse on a date, your youngster on a field trip, or your elderly parents on a getaway, do it now.

Time is running out. If we’re going to get serious about knowing or serving Jesus, now’s the time.

Maybe it has to do with your church. You’ve been putting off the practice of tithing, hoping for a more convenient time. You’ve made excuses for not serving on a committee or ministry team. If you believe Christ needs you in that role, punch in the church’s number, talk to the pastor or staff member in charge, and accept the challenge.

 

Perhaps it’s a mission of mercy. There are times when we feel we’re too tired to undertake some act of kindness for another person, but consider what the famous evangelist John Wesley wrote in his journal on January 4, 1785—when he was 82 years old:  “At this season (New Year) we usually distribute coal and bread among the poor of the Society. But now I considered, and they wanted clothes as well as food. So on this day and four following days I walked through the town and begged two hundred pounds in order to clothe them that needed it most. But it was hard work as most of the streets were filled with melting snow, which often lay ankle-deep, so that my feet were stepped in snow water nearly from morning till evening. I held out pretty well until Saturday evening; but I was laid up with a violent flux, which increased every hour until, at six in the morning, Dr. Whitehead called upon me.”

Wesley was simply living out his personal creed:  “Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”[1]

If there’s something you need to do for another before Christ returns, do it now. Compose a “To Do” list and make a schedule for yourself. Tell yourself:  “Today I’m going to visit my friend’s mother in the nursing home. I’ll leave home at 9:00, get there at 9:30, stay a half-hour, then have a cup of coffee on my way home.”

In the movie classic Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara said, “I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” No, today is the day the Lord has made. Do it now! Go ahead and write a note to that overseas soldier. Make those brownies for the neighbor.

In his book, Today Matters, leadership expert John Maxwell writes that we over-exaggerate the importance of yesterday, for past successes and failures look bigger in hindsight than they really are. We overestimate the importance of tomorrow, for we don’t know what the future holds. But we badly underestimate the importance of today. “The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda,” writes Maxwell. There are only a handful of truly important decisions we have to make in our lifetimes. When we make those decisions, then success and fulfillment come by managing those decisions daily—and that shows up in our daily agendas. “You will never change your life,” writes Maxwell, “until you change something you do daily.”[2]

Time is running out. If we’re going to get serious about knowing or serving Jesus, now’s the time. Napoleon Hill once said, “Procrastination is the habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”

Well, what if there is no day after tomorrow?


[1] Quoted by Leslie B. Flynn, Keep on Keeping On (Carlsbad, CA: Magnus Press, 2005), 95-96.

[2] John Maxwell, Today Matters (New York: Warner Faith, 2004), 14-19.

Muslim convert on ‘miraculous’ ways God is ‘radically transforming’ Iran despite persecution

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter

A photograph taken on March 13, 2020, shows the entrance of a mosque that remains shut in the Iranian capital Tehran, after measures were taken to slow down the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. | STR/afp/AFP via Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dedicating his life to sharing the Gospel with Muslims in Iran was never something Hormoz Shariat, head of Iran Alive Ministries and founder of the largest Muslim convert church in the United States, thought he would do.

Born into a devout Muslim family in Iran, Shariat recalled how, as a teen, he would roam the streets of Tehran, protesting against the U.S. and shouting, “Death to America!”

“I strongly believed, at the time, that Islam was the only way,” he shared with The Christian Post during a sit-down interview. “I’ve since repented of that, and I now confidently say, ‘God bless America.”

After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Shariat moved to the U.S. to earn his Ph.D. in artificial intelligence. Around this time, he experienced a period of “spiritual questioning.”

“I asked, ‘Is God there? And if He is there, He’s with Islam because Islam is taking over the world. Maybe I should pay more attention to my roots and my religion that I grew up with,” he said.

“After studying the Quran front to back, I thought, ‘This didn’t add anything to me,’” Shariat continued. “But something in me — which I now realize was the Holy Spirit — said, ‘How can you come to such a big conclusion by reading just one book? You need to study more before you decide if God is there.’”

Shariat felt compelled to pick up a Bible, although he told himself, “I’m not going to find anything new here, because the Quran is the most complete book and Islam is the best religion.”

After reading the book of Matthew, Shariat began to struggle with the person of Jesus, who he found to be “so different from the prophet that Islam teaches us.”

“I struggled for hours, for days, re-reading Matthew, trying to figure out this person of Jesus,” he said. “After a few months of struggle, somebody invited me to a church in downtown Los Angeles. That’s where I heard this simple message of the Gospel, which transformed my life.”

Excited by his newfound faith, Shariat felt God calling him to share the Gospel with others: “I thought, I need to tell everyone about this Jesus,” he said.

But Shariat’s faith was about to be tested in a devastating way. Around this time, his 16-year-old brother was arrested on a minor political charge and was imprisoned for two years.

“As a new believer, I prayed, ‘God, please save him,’” Shariat said. “The Iranian government kept telling my mother they were going to release him, but one day they called her and said, ‘Come get his body. We just shot him. And by the way, you need to pay for the bullets.’ They charged her to release his body.”

The death of his brother sparked a “crisis” inside of him, Shariat admitted. “I prayed, ‘God, what happened to my prayers? I want to take vengeance.’ God said to me, ‘Vengeance is mine.’ I said, ‘OK, I won’t take revenge, but I really hate them.’ God said to me, ‘No, you are to love your enemies.’ I said, ‘OK, but I’m still angry.’ God said, ‘When you are angry, you kill that person in your heart.’ I said, ‘God, can I at least curse to feel better?’ and God said, ‘No, you can’t even do that, because with your mouth you must worship and not swear.’”

“I said, ‘What is this? There is injustice in this world, and I am not allowed to do anything,’” he continued. “That’s when God spoke to me and said, ‘The best thing to do is share the Gospel. Those who killed your brother are not your enemies. They are captives in the hands of the enemy.’”

“That,” he said, “is where I got my life calling. I said, ‘OK, I’m going to start sharing the Gospel with Muslims. It’s your job to save them, but I can share Gospel with them.’”

At first, Shariat experienced rejection, failure, and even received death threats. But slowly, “God started doing something among Iranian Muslims,” he said.

Dr. Hormoz Shariat, head of Iran Alive Ministries (IAM) and founder of the largest Muslim convert church in the United States | YouTube/Screengrab


In 1987, he planted a church in San Jose, California. With hundreds of Muslim converts, it still remains one of the largest churches of its kind in the U.S. But Shariat felt the Lord calling him beyond the four walls of the church, and in 2001, he founded Iran Alive Ministries, which utilizes Satellite TV to reach the millions of lost and broken people in Iran and the rest of the Middle East. Today, the ministry broadcasts the Gospel 24/7 from their studio in Dallas, Texas, to Iran and across the Middle East.

“My goal was to share the Gospel with over 1 million Muslims,” he said. “By God’s grace, through media, I have passed this number multiple times.”

Reaching Iranians with the message of the Gospel is no easy feat, Shariat admitted, as their efforts are often blocked by the country’s government.

“Many people are afraid to contact us. Our phones are often blocked, and so is our website, so it’s hard to say exactly how many people we have reached,” he said. “But we have the names of over 37,000 people who have received Christ, and we know there are several hundred thousand who have made decisions but haven’t been able to tell us.”

Shariat shared the story of one Iranian Muslim woman who called his ministry, asking: “Do you interpret dreams?”

“I said, ‘Well, I don’t claim that but tell me. Maybe I can help you,” he said.

“The woman said, ‘I’m a devout Muslim, and I do my Islamic prayer every day. But recently, I’ve been watching your programs and I’ve been doubting which way is truth. What you say is nice and Jesus is really loving and forgiving. I was confused a few nights ago and I said, ‘God, would you tell me the truth about which one is the right way?’”

That night, the woman went to bed and dreamed she was in a dark desert, lost and alone.

“I was afraid and crying out,” she said. “Suddenly, an angel appeared to me. And I said, ‘Please help me. Where should I go?’ And the angel just pointed to a direction. I looked there and I saw a cross full of light. I ran toward the cross, and a light fell on me. And I felt so much joy, so much peace that I’ve never experienced before.’ Can you tell me what that means?”

“It was incredible,” Shariat recalled. “I simply presented the Gospel. I said, ‘You asked God to show you which one is the way, and Jesus showed you. Would you like to receive Him? And she said, ‘Of course.’ Since then, her life has changed completely.”

Such stories are not uncommon, Shariat said, causing him to believe that God “has a special going on for Muslims right now.”

“Jesus appears to them all the time through visions, dreams, and miracles,” he said. “Sometimes I feel these days if you want to see Jesus, you have to be a Muslim. It’s almost like Jesus is looking at the rest of the world, saying, ‘Look at me. I love them. I’m healing them, I’m appearing to them. Will you love them with me?”

As part of his ministry, Shariat helps Americans by providing inside information about Iran and how it impacts the U.S. He told CP that while the media often presents Iran as a godless nation, Shariat said Christ “actually has more credibility and respect in Iran than Islam itself.”

“Islam is experiencing the greatest defeat in its history in Iran today,” he stressed. “Every day, I talk to so many Muslims who are negative toward Mohammed and Islam, but are very positive about Christ and Christianity. They are drawn to the fact that Christianity is a religion of love. They are extremely open to Christianity.”

Shariat said that another misconception about many Iranians is that they “hate America.”

“I can boldly say, there’s no country in the world that loves America more than Iranians do. They love everything in America: They want American fashion, music, arts, and they want American democracy. They are open to Americans talking to them, teaching them.”

Finally, Shariat said he believes that it’s not long before Iran becomes an entirely Christian nation. He cited statistics revealing that more Christians have come to Christ since the 1979 Iranian Revolution than in the previous 1,400 years combined.

“The government moving toward Ezekiel 38, trying to destroy Israel, but majority of people are moving toward Christ, according to Jeremiah 14,” he shared. “The Gospel is especially popular with young people because they have no hope. When they come to Christ, they come from darkness to light, and they have an amazing supernatural boldness and lack of fear. God is miraculously working there.”

The American Church, Shariat stressed, would do well to learn from the boldness of Iranian Christians.

“I think we can learn their passion, the commitment to the Lord they have, and the courage they have, when they go out putting their lives on the line,” he said. “Sometimes we are afraid to talk about Christ even in America. But they are not afraid to do that, even though their lives are in danger.”

Shariat asked American Christians to pray for his ministry: “We are facing the dark spirit, called in the Bible ‘the Prince of Persia,’ so we really need prayer,” he said. “Pray for those persecuted; pray they will have the boldness to live out their faith despite challenges.”

“Let’s share the Gospel with Iranian Muslims. Let’s disciple a nation together,” he said. “Iran is such fertile ground. Whatever you invest, you see much return. God is radically transforming an entire nation.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/muslim-convert-on-miraculous-ways-god-is-radically-transforming-iran-despite-persecution.html